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1. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 11
Peter Ansoff The First Navy Jack
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While the rattlesnake-and-stripes flag that currently flies on the bow of every U.S. warship has a long tradition in American flag use, its design was a 19th-century mistake based on an erroneous 1776 engraving. This paper explores the history of the flag that never existed.
2. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 11
Bruce Patterson, Saguenay Herald Constructing Canadian Symbolism: National Identity as Expressed in Canadian Heraldic Authority Grants
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The author explores the broad range of Canadian symbols in grants of arms and flags over the past 15 years, going well beyond variations on the maple leaf to the animals, objects, flowers, and colors used by individuals and organizations to represent Canada. This paper was originally delivered as the keynote speech at the Association’s 37th annual meeting.
3. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 11
Scot Guenter Micronesian Flag Cultures: An Exercise in Comparative Vexillogy
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The author draws on his work in the field to explore flag use across Guam, Palau, and the Federated States of Micronesia. His comparative analysis examines the significance of flags within the broader context of an emergent civil religion within the political cultures of three different but adjacent political entities.
4. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 11
Joseph E. Donovan Two Irish Flags: A Comparative Analysis
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The gold-harp-on-green flag and the orange-white-green tricolor, two flags for one republic, demonstrate the contrasts of Ireland. One is indigenous and traditional, the other is imported and legislated. Their designs, while vastly different, are both compelling.
5. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 12
John B. Harker Betsy Ross: An American Legend and Patriot Revisited
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A family member examines the legend of Betsy Ross’s role in the creation of the first American flag and how that legend became overwhelmingly popular. Previously little-known and unknown evidence that shows Betsy Ross was well known during her lifetime, much earlier than the 1870 William Canby lecture. Such celebrity is strong support for what has been, until now, considered only a family “myth”.
6. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 12
Devereaux D. Cannon, Jr. The Genesis of the “Stars and Bars”
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The competing claims of two designers of the first flag of Confederate States of America have never been resolved. This paper, explains the history of their dispute, weighs the evidence supporting their cases, and explores the possibility that the actual genesis of the Stars and Bars may have arisen from an altogether different source.
7. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 12
Edward B. Kaye The American City Flag Survey of 2004
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Nearly 500 respondents to an Internet-based poll rated the designs of the 150 city flags documented in Raven 9/10, American City Flags, as the Association followed its “hands-off” scholarly effort on city flags with a “hands-on” survey of their quality, with spectacular results. The survey validated the basic principles espoused by Good Flag, Bad Flag, and triggered extensive nationwide press coverage.
8. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 12
Heinz Tschachler “Sacred Emblems of Attachment”: The Lewis & Clark Expedition, American Nationalism, and the Colonization of the West
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As the U.S. commemorates the bicentennial of the 1803-06 Lewis & Clark Expedition, this essay explores nationalistic rituals, celebrations, and public displays of nationhood both in the expedition and its immediate aftermath. In the invented traditions deployed in colonial encounters with Native Americans, the U.S. flag articulated the national pride of the young republic and the newly acquired sovereignty of the United States over the native populations and their lands.
9. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 13
Peter Ansoff The Flag on Prospect Hill
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What flag did General Washington actually fly outside of Boston on 1 January 1776? This incisive and well-researched analysis demonstrates that the flag over Prospect Hill was more likely the British Union Flag, with the English and Scottish crosses overall, rather than the 13-striped Continental Colors as believed by historians for 150 years.
10. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 13
Patrice de la Brosse Flag Display and Precedence in Québec
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Québec’s size and unique historical origins lead many to consider the province a “nation within a nation”, with concomitant challenges in the use of the provincial and national flags in official ceremonies. A veteran of many years of resolving these challenges describes their difficult background and resourceful solutions.
11. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 13
Laura K. Kidd “A splendid and beautiful Silk Flag”: Restoring and Remembering America’s History Stitch by Stitch
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The conservation of a 1913 U.S. flag that originally belonged to Worthen Post No. 128 of the Grand Army of the Republic in Murphysboro, Illinois, provides a case study in complementary interventive and investigative conservation methods. “Before” and “after” images demonstrate the success of the project.
12. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 13
David B. Martucci Flag and Symbol Usage in Early New England
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All European powers that explored and claimed territory in New England used flags; the English colonists transplanted extensive flag traditions to the New World. The varying use of militia flags, the excision and restoration of the “idolatrous cross”, and the evolution of the Pine Tree flag provide compelling chapters in colonial history.
13. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 14
Laura K. Kidd Wave It or Wear It? The United States Flag as a Fashion Icon
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As Americans’ relationship with their flag evolved over two centuries, so too did their attitudes about using it as part of their clothing. This fascinating analysis and description of the changing opinions and styles of flag-wear in the United States traces its ups and downs from the Revolutionary era to today.
14. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 14
Gustavo Tracchia Flags, Medals, and Decorations
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Phaleristics—the study of medals—provides an opportunity to explore the rich connections between medals and heraldry and flags. This article begins with the Crusades and traces many examples of flags whose colors, designs, or symbols ultimately derive from or influence the medals awarded by orders of knighthood and merit, and civil and military decorations.
15. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 14
Ken Reynolds “To make the unmistakable signal ‘Canada’”: The Canadian Army’s “Battle Flag” during the Second World War
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When Canada entered the war as a dominion of the British Empire, the question of “under what flag would her troops fight?” resulted in a significant proposal which not only went into battle, it would influence the debate twenty years later over the design of the new national flag. This article draws on the archives of the Department of National Defence illuminate the history of that glorious flag.
16. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 14
Brian Craig The Freedom to Display the American Flag Act: Construction and Constitutionality
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When Association member and flag dealer Hugh Warner approached his congressman about his customers’ problems with homeowners associations limiting flag display, Congress promptly passed an act prohibiting such restrictions. That act and its legal history receive an interesting and thorough discussion and analysis.
17. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 15
Peter Ansoff A Striped Ensign in Philadelphia in 1754?
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The flag of the East India Company has been frequently cited as a possible precursor to the U.S. flag, in part based on an engraving showing it flying in Philadelphia Harbor in 1754. This incisive and well-researched analysis demonstrates that in decorating a view of the city, the artist simply lifted an image of a “Bombay Grab” from an earlier engraving—the ship and flag were never in America.
18. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 15
Carita M. Culmer The Oregon State Flag
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Oregon’s flag, the only state flag with a different image on its reverse, uses the escutcheon from the state seal and the beaver as its primary design elements. This article, by a native Oregonian, explores the origins of the seal in the 19th century and the flag in the 20th century.
19. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 15
Lane J. Harris Standard Messages: Institutional Identity and Symbolism in Chinese Postal Flags, 1896–1949
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The Chinese post office used flags to mark its facilities—buildings and vehicles—during an era when it served as one of the only unifying institutions in an otherwise fractured nation ruled by factions, warlords, and quasi-states. From the “Flying Goose” to the “automatic canceller mark”, its flag designs invoked speed, loyalty, and reliability.
20. Raven: A Journal of Vexillology: Volume > 15
Gustavo Tracchia The Argentine Flag in Monterey
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When the Argentine flag flew briefly over the California port town of Monterey in 1818, it represented not conquest but rather a call to join the Americas-wide revolt against Spanish rule. This article explains the full and complex story behind Captain Hippolyte de Bouchard’s actions.